Bangladeshis occupying city forest lands upsetting demographic balance - G Plus

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Bangladeshis occupying city forest lands upsetting demographic balance

GPlus | January 08, 2017 00:31 hrs

The massive increase in the population of Guwahati has become a serious cause of concern and a prime reason for this is migration of Bangladeshis who have occupied almost half of the city’s forest and hill lands made possible by the absence of a proper land act.   The relevant period is 1971 onwards which is the cut-off date in terms of the Assam Accord for detection and deportation. “Most of the areas in the city are occupied by Bangladeshis and they have become the majority
now. No new land policy is there to take action against the migrants who have encroached the city’s lands heavily. The land act of the British era is still followed by the government rather than coming up with a new one,” said President of All Assam Students’ Union, DipankaNath while speaking to G Plus.   He said that the Assamese and the indigenous people should get the land rights which will be possible only after the formation of a new law on land. “It is due to the absence of a land policy that the lands are occupied by the Bangladeshis due to which eviction does not become effective. After the encroachers are evicted they again return to the place after some days.None can take action as there is no law on land,” Nath said.   He added that the landson the roadside up to Rangia and Jagiroad are being bought by outsiders which are being used for factories. “The government should emphasize on the land policy and if anyone occupies land it should go according to the land policy,” said Nath. Birth and Death Registration in Kamrup (M) in 2016:   From the tabular data it can be observed that given the birth taking place in the district, it is clear that the massive population increase in the city is a result of migration.    In 2012, the Assam government issued a white paper on the foreigners’ issue without disclosing any estimate of the number of illegal migrants. The white paper released by the then chief minister recorded that 61,774 illegal migrants were detected between 1985 and 2012. Between 1961 and 1966 1,78,952 illegal migrants were deported from the state according to the white paper submitted in 2012. This is significant when contrasted with the mere 2,442 migrants deported between 1985 and 2012 according to the white paper.    Chapter X of the Assam Land Revenue and Regulation Act, 1886 (amended in 1947) is a piece of law meant to protect belts and the land rights of tribals from illegal encroachment by other advanced communities on tribal lands. Accordingly, several tribal belts and blocks were created under Chapter X of the Act (45 tribal belts and blocks had been created till 1984). The objectives of the chapter are clearly spelled out in the Assam Land Revenue Manual. The introduction in the Manual states that the provisions under Chapter X are meant to provide necessary protection to the tribals. It goes on to say that “the principle followed in constituting them is that the majority of the population in these areas must be tribal.”    This is significant in the context of the present disturbances where the central and state governments have sought to portray illegal migrants as victims whereas in the first place they had no right to occupy and possess tribal land. In fact, even indigenous non-tribals are severely restricted from owning and possessing land in tribal areas.    The illegal migrants typically settle in reserve forests and on government land where after they are facilitated by “interested religious and political elements encouraging immigration” (as noted in the Supreme Court judgment) to get permanent settlement rights. This happens with the active knowledge, connivance and acquiescence of revenue authorities. Illegal encroachment and settlement is recorded and known to the authorities but nothing is done. For the Bodos, as well as for other tribal and indigenous people of Assam, one of the core issues is the protection of their land rights, which is vital for them to protect their identities and cultures. A majority of the tribal people in Assam depend upon agriculture for their livelihood since their educational levels are very poor due to several factors like lack of access to quality education on account of poverty. But the land of the Bodos and other tribals in Assam is much more than an economic resource. It represents their origins, their history, and the birthplace of their forefathers. The area of land that Bodos and other tribes now occupy in Assam is a fraction of what their forefathers had.    AASU President DipankaNath moreover said that the many people who have submitted fake documents for National Register of Citizens (NRC) have been identified and that the names included in the NRC should be of indigenous people of the state but not of the illegal infiltrators.    • The White Paper released by the Chief Minister in 2012 records that 61,774 illegal migrants were detected between 1985 and 2012  • Population is increasing in the city due to the absence of land law policy which needs to be formulated soon • The forest and hill lands are occupied by Bangladeshis • Between 1961 and 1966, 1,78,952 illegal migrants were deported from the state according to the White Paper submitted in 2012   Stay updated on the go with GPlus News. Click here to download the app for your device.
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